Munis unchanged ahead of busy Tuesday

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Top-shelf municipal bonds finished Monday mostly unchanged, as municipal market participants geared up for the busiest week since June.

Ipreo estimates volume will soar to $9.92 billion from the revised total of $5.37 billion sold in the past week, according to updated figures from Thomson Reuters. The calendar for the week ahead is composed of $7.15 billion of negotiated deals and $2.77 billion in competitive sales.

There was little action on Monday, as one deal priced for retail and Morgan Stanley circulated pricing guidance for the biggest deal of the week -- Texas Water Development Board’s $1.04 billion of State Water Implementation Revenue Fund for Texas bonds that are expected to price on Tuesday.

In the guidance, the bonds are priced to yield from 0.91% with a 5% coupon in 2019 to 3.11% with a 4% coupon in 2038. A term bond in 2042 was listed to yield 3.21% and 2.91% with 4% and 5% coupons in a split maturity. A term bond in 2047 was listed to yield 3.28% and 2.98% with 4% and 5% coupons in a split maturity. A term bond in 2052 was listed to yield 3.38% and 3.08% with 4% and 5% coupons in a split maturity. The 2018 maturity was offered as a sealed bid. The deal is the largest in the board’s history and carries ratings of triple-A from S&P and Fitch.

Raymond James priced the New York City Municipal Water Finance Authority’s $383.975 million of water and sewer system second general resolution revenue bonds for retail investors on Monday, ahead of institutional pricing on Tuesday.

The $217.315 million of fiscal 2018 series BB, subseries BB-1 bonds were priced for retail to yield 3.45% and 3.00% with a 3.375% coupon and a 5% coupon in a split maturity. The 2037 and 2046 maturities were not available for retail.

The $166.660 million of subseries BB-2 bonds were priced for retail to yield 2.19% with a 5% coupon in 2028 and 2.82% and 2.39% with 2.75% coupon and 5% coupons in a split 2030 maturity. No retail was available in the 2029, 2031 and 2032 maturities. The deal is rated Aa1 by Moody’s Investors Service and AA-plus by S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings.

Tuesday should be the busiest day of the week as Bank of America Merrill Lynch is expected to price New Jersey Turnpike Authority’s $579 million of revenue SIFMA LIBOR indexed bonds. The deal is rated A2 by Moody’s, A-plus by S&P and A by Fitch.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch is slated to price Oregon’s $578 million for institutions on Tuesday. The TANs are rated MIG 1 by Moody’s, SP-1-plus by S&P and F1-plus by Fitch.

On the competitive side, Washington State is set to sell a total of $528.81 million through three separate sales — including the largest individual competitive sale of $435.025 million on Tuesday. The general obligation various purpose motor vehicle fuel tax and refunding bonds are rated Aa1 by Moody’s and AA-plus by S&P and Fitch.

Secondary market

The yield on the 10-year benchmark muni general obligation was flat at 1.92% from Friday, while the 30-year GO yield was unchanged from 2.78%, according to a read of Municipal Market Data's triple-A scale. The front end of the curve saw slight changes, as the 2018 maturity was three basis points higher, the 2019 maturity was two basis points higher and the 2020 maturity was higher by one basis point, according to traders.

U.S. Treasuries were stronger at the close on Monday. The yield on the two-year Treasury was lower to 1.42% from 1.44%, the 10-year Treasury yield declined to 2.21% from 2.26% and the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond dipped to 2.76% from 2.79%.

On Monday, the 10-year muni-to-Treasury ratio was calculated at 86.6% compared with 85.0% on Friday, while the 30-year muni-to-Treasury ratio stood at 100.7% versus 99.5%, according to MMD.

Previous week's top underwriters
The top municipal bond underwriters of last week included Citi, Barclays, JP Morgan, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Stifel, according to Thomson Reuters data.

In the week of Sept. 17 to Sept. 23, Citi underwrote $1.06 billion, Barclays $806 million, JPM $512 million, BAML $389 million, and Stifel $377 million.

Prior week's actively traded issues
Revenue bonds comprised 56.08% of new issuance in the week ended Sept. 22, up from 55.98% in the previous week, according to Markit. General obligation bonds made up 37.56% of total issuance, up from 37.47%, while taxable bonds accounted for 6.36%, down from 6.55%.

Some of the most actively traded bonds by type were from New York and Virginia issuers, according to Markit.

In the GO bond sector, the New York City 3.25s of 2042 were traded 112 times. In the revenue bond sector, the Erie County, N.Y., 2s of 2018 were traded 65 times. And in the taxable bond sector, the University of Virginia 4.179s of 2017 were traded 29 times.

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Primary bond market Secondary bond market Texas Water Development Board New York City Municipal Water Finance Authority New Jersey Turnpike Authority State of Oregon State of Washington